7 Trouble Shots You Need to Know

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7 Trouble Shots You Need to Know

October 29, 2014

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Dom Furore

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Photo By: Dom Furore

Photo By: Dom Furore

Phil Mickelson: Uneven Fairway Bunker Lie

The key to any shot from a tough lie is to make it as normal as possible. In this case, you'll notice I've twisted my feet well into the sand, which stabilizes my stance and brings me down closer to ball level. I also flexed my knees at address and maintained that flex throughout the swing, so I wouldn't need to pitch my upper body forward to reach the ball. The biggest challenge on shots like this is making precise contact. As you can see, I've kept my head still, my eyes riveted -- that's a great contact key.

Photo By: Getty Images

Hank Haney: Buried Bunker Lie

Set up with the ball in the middle of your stance and square the clubface to the target. Going back, hinge your wrists more abruptly, and then come down on a steep angle. This will help you get the leading edge under the ball as you blast out a big chunk of sand -- and the ball with it. The sand will provide a lot of resistance, so don't worry about getting to a perfect follow-through. Focus on making a firm, steep swing and driving your club under the ball.

Photo By: Dom Furore

Butch Harmon: Deep Rough Chip

Your sand wedge is the best choice here because you can use the extra weight in the sole to slide the clubface under the ball. With your weight forward, play the ball in the middle of your stance, and make a steep backswing by hinging your wrists right off the ball. To create the correct motion, picture the letter V: The steeper you swing the club back and down, the higher the ball will pop out on the other side.

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Tom Watson: Playing Over Trouble

To execute this shot, I use one club longer than normal, because I'll lose some distance with the higher-trajectory flight. To counter the lower loft of the longer club, I weaken my grip, setting my left thumb straight down the handle, but I keep the clubface square to the target. I set up with the ball slightly forward in my stance, with my hands a little behind it. Then I raise my left shoulder and lower my right shoulder, and kick in my right knee for stability. As I swing down and through this shot, I want to keep my head behind the ball and finish with my hands really high. A high finish helps produce a high shot.

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Bubba Watson: Playing Under Trouble

When I'm trying to affect the height of a shot, I take care of most of the work in my setup. To hit the ball low, I play it off my back foot with my hands ahead so the shaft leans forward. This delofts the club, turning the 7-iron I'm holding here into something more like a 5-iron. Then I think about making a short backswing with an even shorter finish. I want my swing to stop with my hands in front where I can see them. I think most golfers could benefit from attempting more of these punch shots each round. When the ball doesn't rise as high, it has less time to slide off line on its way down.

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Todd Anderson: Ball Above Your Feet

From this sideslope, the clubhead will tend to sit on its toe, so when you sole it be sure the heel touches the ground. In effect, the angle of this slope makes the club longer, so stand taller and grip down an inch or two on the handle. The shaft will be more horizontal at address. The club moves more around your body, which creates more clubface rotation and can cause a right-to-left shot. Aim farther right to compensate. Also, expect a lower flight and more roll.

Photo By: Dom Furore

David Leadbetter: Playing From a Water Hazard

Before you try this shot, ask yourself two questions: (1) Is at least half of the ball above the water? (2) Do I have a pair of rainpants to slip on? If you answer no to either question, you might want to take a drop. But if the ball isn't submerged and you don't mind getting wet, think of this as a bunker shot. Grab a wedge, and open the face before taking your grip. Set up with your body aligned well left of the target. Make a steep swing and try to enter the water as close to the ball as possible. Don't expect it to go far (and keep your mouth closed). Hit one or two of these a year, and you'll be a clubhouse legend.

Photo By: Dom Furore

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